Fort Boonesborough
Kentucky History Award

Winner of 2 History Awards From the Kentucky Historical Society




Abraham Lincoln Comes to life at the Fireside Chat on Feb 16


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Another sold out crowd was on hand for the third of the February Series of Fireside Chats. The Fireside Chats are sponsored by The Fort Boonesborough Foundation and bring guest speakers and dinner to Fort Boonesborough.

Abraham Lincoln portrayed by Jim Sayre appeared last weekend. Sayre has been portraying Lincoln ever since he first grew a beard in 1959 when returning from the service. He entered a Lincoln look-alike contest and his life long interest in the 16th president began. Sayre now offers his portrayal through The Kentucky Humanities Council. It will be a busy  two years ahead of him as Kentucky just kicked off the Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration. Events are planned throughout the Commonwwealth over the next two years.

A Taste of Frontier Fare is offered before every Chat and the meal Saturday night was grilled chicken breast and green beans and potatoes. As dinner was finished members of the Foundation cleared away the tables and arranged the seating so Mr. Lincoln could have center stage. He talked of his boyhood in Kentucky and mixed stories of his life into his talk.

He ended with a stirring recital of the Gettysburg Address. Afterwards Mr. Sayre took questions from the audience and posed for photos.

Visiting Gettysburg

By Charles Hayes

During the first week of November, 1988, I toured the Gettysburg battlefield. I didn’t see any ghosts or hear any voices.  I did feel my hair standing straight up.  I did feel a presence, as though I were walking through a crowd of people.  I felt the gut tightened alertness that I hadn’t felt since I left Southeast Asia over thirteen years before.  I felt thirst as though I was getting on a chopper in sweat soaked jungle fatigues. 

I think that if I had been taken to the middle of the battlefield, blindfolded and unable to hear, and with no knowledge of my location, that I would have felt the same.

In three days in July, 1863, approximately 50,000 Americans were killed in action. Others died later from wounds received in the battle. To put this in perspective, this is approximately 80 percent of the deaths we suffered during the 10 years of the Vietnam conflict. This is 10 times the number of killed in action, we have suffered fighting the Global War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The repercussions of those 3 days are still felt.  William Faulkner, in his work Intruder in the Dust, expressed it best:

‘It’s all now you see.  Yesterday won’t be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago.  For every southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it is still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and its all in the balance and, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnet and Kemper and Armstead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn’t need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time ………..

At the Fort Boonesborough Blockhouse/Museum, Jim Sayre captured the intensity of the nineteenth century leading up to and through the American Civil War.  He portrayed Abraham Lincoln to a packed house that hung on to his every word and gesture.  He effortlessly fused knowledge of the time period and its central figures with Lincoln’s dry, homespun (and sometimes parable-like) sense of humor.  He received a thunderous ovation at the conclusion of his recitation of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and another as he concluded his presentation.  He then received over a dozen questions form the audience and thoroughly answered each question with pertinent examples to support his answer. 

Abraham Lincoln carried the future of the United States on his shoulders during the Civil War.  Sayre’s presentation thoroughly depicted Lincoln’s burden and his resolve to carry it to the finish.


Mr. Lincoln talks with writer/photographer Charles Hayes

George Chalfant, president of The Fort Boonesborough Foundation visits with Mr. Lincoln


This visitor had many questions for Mr. Lincoln
(Right) Jim Cummings shakes hands with the president.


For more about Mr. Lincoln’s Fireside Chat visit

The original Fort Boonesborough was built by Daniel Boone and his men in 1775


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